Christmas season is rolling in full swing with several local events

Mary Welches, Dr. Evelyn Priddy and Alan Daugherty (from left) collaborated on two books of historical fiction featuring early settlers in Huntington. The books will be available during the Christmas Tree Walk Dec. 5 and 6.
Mary Welches, Dr. Evelyn Priddy and Alan Daugherty (from left) collaborated on two books of historical fiction featuring early settlers in Huntington. The books will be available during the Christmas Tree Walk Dec. 5 and 6. Photo provided.

The Christmas season is truly under way this weekend, with Santa arriving in two more Huntington County communities and a host of decorated trees on display at the Historic Forks of the Wabash.

There's also a holiday sing-along and a theatrical production at Huntington University, another holiday play in Warren, a community performance of Handel's "Messiah" and a scaled down, but still glittering, Christmas light display at Memorial Park.

Here's a rundown of all the ways you can get into the holiday spirit this weekend:

Christmas in
the Village

The village of Roanoke shows its jolly side as it welcomes Santa Claus to town on Friday, Dec. 4. Carolers will provide the music at Zent Commons in downtown Roanoke beginning at 5:30 p.m. to get the crowd in the mood for Santa's arrival at 5:45 p.m. Hot chocolate will be available as the tree in Zent Commons is lighted for the season.

Santa will stick around in the Roanoke Town hall to visit with children, who can also decorate gingerbread houses and take part in other crafts.

The evening of Santa's arrival will also feature shopping at downtown stores and several churches from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Faith Lutheran Church, 3416E-900N, will offer crafts and baked goods; the Roanoke Brethren Church at 415 S. Main St. will offer its famous apple dumplings; and the United Methodist Church at 285 N. Seminary St. will operate at country store and offer baked goods. The stores and churches will be open again on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cornerstone Alliance Church, 5833E-900N, will host Breakfast With Santa on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The breakfast features homemade pancakes and sausage, along with a chat with the jolly gent.

Christmas in
"Our Town"

Santa Claus takes a jaunt to Markle on Saturday, Dec. 5, arriving at 9 a.m. at the Markle Church of Christ, 455 E. Morse St.

Breakfast with Santa will be served at the church from 9:30 to 10 a.m., and Santa will visit with children from 10:30 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Holiday festivities will take place throughout the day all around town.

Story and craft sessions are planned at 9:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. at the Markle Public Library. An ice sculpting demonstration will be presented by Stan Horne from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on the corner of Ind.-3 and Ind.-116. The Festival of Christmas Trees takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and visitors can vote for their favorite trees.

Holiday bingo gets going at the fire station on Sparks Street at 10 a.m. and continues until noon. Markle Health and Rehabilitation will host live reindeer, free train rides for children and refreshments from 2 to 4 p.m. The decorated home of Brian and Tamera Imel, 8313N-600W, Markle, will be open to visitors from 3 to 6 p.m. Admission is by donation, which will be used to update town Christmas decorations.

Free horse and wagon rides will be offered from 5 top 8 p.m. at the Markle United Methodist Church, with free hot cocoa and coffee served in the church basement. Joyle Allen will present a holiday organ concert, featuring selections ranging from show tunes to hymns, at 7 p.m.

Business open houses are scheduled throughout the day. A Kids' Christmas Shop will be held from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at Markle United Methodist Church, with a craft fair set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Markle Health and Rehabilitation. Markle United Methodist will offer a soup and sandwich supper from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

Throughout the day, winter coats, scarves, mittens, gloves and hats can be dropped of at Markle Furniture and at the craft and product show for the Great American Warm-Up. Washable items should be laundered before drop-off; Main Cleaners and OK Modern Dry Cleaners will dry clean other items.

Christmas Tree Walk
For the fifth year, the Forks of the Wabash Historic Park will display decorated trees.

This year, however, the event will feature the introduction of two locally produced books of fiction featuring historical figures from Huntington's past.
The books, "Long Ago In a Place Called Huntington" and "A Wonderful House for Matilda's Family" are fictional accounts of the family of Joseph and Margaret Nuck and Sebastian and John Kaiser, Margaret Nuck's brothers.
While the stories are fictional, real locations and details were referenced to depict life in the early years of the Huntington area.

The Nucks immigrated to Huntington County during the mid-19th century and lived on a log home that is now a park of the Forks of the Wabash Historic Park. The home was built in 1848 by Joseph Nuck and his son Matthias on Rangeline Road in northern Huntington County. The house was donated to the Huntington County Junior Historical Society, which moved the structure to the Forks property in 1980. It is now furnishes as a settler's home from the mid-19th Century and is toured by more than 4,000 students each year.

Dr. Evelyn Priddy, a local author, collaborated with Mary Welches, a great great-granddaughter of Joseph and Margaret Nuck, to write the story. Alan Daugherty, a retired art teacher in the Huntington County Community Schools, referred to artifacts and historical documents to create the illustrations. Barbara Behning, of The Gray Dove in Roanoke, served as layout designer and publisher.

Softcover copies of the books may be purchased during the Christmas Tree Walk, and Priddy, Daughterty and Welches will be available to sign copies on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. A hardcover book containing both stories will be available at a later date.

The Christmas Tree Walk at the Forks will take place on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday, Dec. 6, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. There is no admission charge.

Visitors can vote for their favorite trees throughout the weekend. A ticket will be drawn from each tree at the end of the day Sunday, and the ticketholder will win the decorated tree.

During the weekend, Miami descendants of Chief Richardville will have the Chiefs' Home open and seasonally decorated. Crafts and baked goods will be for sale.

Proceeds from the event will be used to help educate more than 4,000 school-aged children and thousands of adults about the history of Huntington County.

A Cowboy Christmas
Huntington University's junior theater majors are gearing up for this season's Christmas show that tells the story of the birth of Christ - with a twist.

"For Unto Y'all: A Cowboy Christmas" is a humorous musical nativity story set in the Old West, in a little town called Bethlehem, WY. Old Dr. Lucas Trotter introduces the audience to characters such as a six-gun totin' Gabriel dressed in white. Gabriel tells Mary and Joseph the good news - they will bring God's own son, the long awaited light, into their dark world.

The young couple must make their way through Wyoming Territory, where Mary gives birth to Jesus in a livery stable. Gabriel and his heavenly posse announce the joyous birth to a rowdy bunch of cowboys who are working their herd on the nearby plains. The cowboys rush off to see this newborn Savior the angels sing about, and the celebration of the Gospel begins.

"For Unto Y'all: A Cowboy Christmas" was written and arranged by Robert Sterling and is directed by Elaine Stoughton, a junior history major, and Mary Russell, a junior theater performance major. The show is choreographed by Bethany Edlund and Courtney Swenson, two junior theater performance majors. Krystle McGowen, a senior technical theater and design major, is in charge of costumes. Ryan Arnt, a junior technical theater and design major, serves as the technical director.

Performances are on Dec. 4 at 9 p.m. and Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. All tickets are general admission.

A Family Christmas

Huntington University's music department presents "A Family Christmas" on Friday, Dec. 4, as part of its Ensemble Concert Series.

The 7:30 p.m. concert will be presented in the Zurcher Auditorium of the Merillat Centre for the Arts, featuring Christmas classics for the entire family.

The kid-friendly event will feature a surprise visitor who will lead a sing-along that will be fun for everyone.

HU musical groups performing during the concert include the Wind Ensemble and the Brass Ensemble, both directed by Dr. Robert Lynn; the Women's Chorale, directed by Joni Killian; and the Handbell Choir, directed by Darlene Burkett.

For ticket information, call the Merillat Centre box office at 3590-4261.

Community Messiah
A community choir will join with Huntington University's Concert Choir and orchestra for the 55th annual performance of Handel's "Messiah" on Sunday, Dec. 6, at St. Mary Catholic Church on North Jefferson Street.
Vocal soloists are Huntington University junior Sarah Yanovitch, soprano; HU senior Jessica Bauman, alto; HU senior Matthias Austin, tenor; and David Moan of North Manchester, baritone.

Dr. George W. Killian and Drew Wutke will serve as conductors for the performance.

The free performance begins at 7:30 p.m. and is open to the community.

A Wonderful Life
"It's a Wonderful Life," a play based on the popular holiday movie, continues at the Pulse Opera House in Warren. Remaining performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 3, 4, and 5, at 8 p.m. The lobby and box office open at 7 p.m., with theater doors opening at 7:30 p.m.

For ticket information, call 375-7017 or visit

Christmas Lights
A drive-through Christmas light display off Bartlett Street at Memorial Park will be lighted Dec. 3 through Dec. 31, from 6 to 10 p.m. each evening. A giant wreath that originally decorated Huntington's Wolf & Dessauer department store will be lighted at Sunken Gardens during the same hours.